Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Treatment of "TUPE'd" workers is a national disgrace

Steve has worked for 42 years in a factory.

His job is supposedly "non-core".  Along with cleaners, security and catering staff, he was "TUPE'd" across to another employer nine years ago.

He was told not to worry. He'd still have the same job, he'd keep his length of service and pay.  The only thing that would be different would be the name of the employer on the payslip.

Nine years on...there have been four changes of employer for Steve while he has remained in the same job.  Nine years on, and there has been just one pay rise while his "core" colleagues have had eight.   But at least he's had one rise?  Well, even that got messed up. In the end, it took the new employer seven months to implement the rise and get it right.

Back in November, Steve was contractually entitled to receive a long service bonus.  When he checked his pay slip in December, the bonus was there but less had been paid than was due.  Steve was also having trouble taking his holidays.  He still had five days that needed using up before the end of the year.  "Don't worry", said management , "we can't afford to let you take the time, but we will pay you for the five days in January."

This dodgy employer was given notice that it's contract was to be terminated, with a new dodgy employer taking over from 1st January.

This left Steve wondering what would happen with his service underpayment.  He had flagged it up before Christmas, but now he had another new employer.  Having taken advice from Unite, he raised a grievance with both the old and the new employer.

Unfortunately, Steve needed to add his holiday pay issue to the grievance letter, as it was obvious he wasn't going to be getting his money.

The grievance was submitted in the third week of January.   The previous employer did reply in writing and agreed to pay the underpayment, but not the holiday pay,  This was hardly the way Steve wanted his long service payment to be processed after forty years plus! He had hoped for a nice little letter of "thanks" to go with it.  That didn't happen. Wasn't much to want after over 40 years loyal service....

"Shabby" does not do this story justice, but I can think of no better word. All the while this has been going on, all the TUPE'd workers onsite have been having management pressure to sign away contractual benefits (such as long service!).  The Director has even said "we don't recognise TUPE or the Unite Union".

It's now May, and the holiday pay is still not paid.

Shamefully, the current employer has ignored the grievance.  There has been no grievance meeting or acknowledgment that they've received it.  To pressure the employer, I have commenced ACAS early conciliation.  I know that they have instructed a solicitor to speak to ACAS about this situation.  I am sure this will have cost them more than doing the right thing and settling the holiday pay claim (worth little over £300).

I honestly don't want to be involving ACAS or instigating court proceedings.  I just want Steve's employer/s to be reasonable enough to politely meet him if there's a problem, and pay him what they owe him.   I know that Steve doesn't want or need this hassle.

But months later here we are, still battling, still fighting.

We've now pressured the real employer - the one that runs the factory.  It will be pressure from them that settles this matter.  I am confident that Steve will get his money within the next week or so, but I will not regard that as a victory.  Steve's treatment cannot be undone, and between now and retirement, the chances of further problems remain high.

Poor Steve.  His only crime was to be regarded as "non-core" by some manager or other nine years ago. A manager who more than likely has long since left the business. I wish the manager had stayed and witnessed the abject misery his decision caused.

Cleaning services, security and all the other "non-core" workers......no factory or business could run without them.  What a shame the welfare of these essential workers is never considered as they are dumped from one dodgy employer to the next.

Steve's problems are not rare.  They're typical of the trouble workers get who've been "contracted out" or "TUPE'd". I deal with them all the time. It's appalling, sad, and wholly avoidable.

The grubby treatment of "TUPE'd" workers is a national disgrace.


UPDATE

Steve has his money.  He's also had enough.  The great effort to resolve this has been embarrassing for him, and he is truly fed up of these "service providers".

He's handed in his notice.  A sad end to a sad saga,


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